Published: Thu, August 01, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

England must ‘hit the ground running’ in Birmingham: Stokes

England must ‘hit the ground running’ in Birmingham: Stokes

I'd scrap the Lord's Test if they can't sort the track out. The last time both the teams played a Test against each other in Manchester was in 2013 and ended in a draw.

"His development over the last 12 months after what happened in Cape Town has been absolutely extraordinary". We're that proud of him.

Langer said he knew Warner, Bancroft and Steve Smith would be on the end of a hostile welcome at Edgbaston from Thursday. They (fans) thought, "we (will) pick up the IPL a bit later".

But a congested schedule, the result of officials cramming an Ashes into the same season as a lengthy World Cup, could have a bigger bearing on the series, the first in the ICC's new World Test Championship. That's the environment we're in.

But starting today, you can be assured that the Eric Hollies Stand at Edgbaston will whip up an atmosphere to rival, even outdo, that at any IPL match.

"This is where you find out a lot of people".

Vacations be damned. You can watch the first Test of the Ashes from wherever you go, and use the streaming service you're used to in defiance of any geo restrictions that may try and block your way. At 34 years of age if you're looking further ahead than the next Test match you're kidding yourself. "But to endure the last 14 months I think he's had a pretty good dress rehearsal".

McGrath, player of the match in Australia's series-opening win at Lord's, injured his ankle in the warm-up before the second test at Edgbaston after stepping on a ball, and missed the match.

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After a gloomy morning in Birmingham, conditions improved, which may have influenced Paine's decision to elect to bat in what is considered to be a bowler-friendly environment in the Midlands. Surprisingly, there's more conjecture over the selections in the pace bowling group with the return of James Pattinson putting pressure on Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

When confronted with the pitch - which has a healthy covering of brown grass on top of a rock-hard surface - Paine said he expected it would suit Australia's express pacemen more than England's quicks.

Mark Waugh made 137 and 62 not out in a 1993 eight-wicket win for Australia and after Nasser Hussain's double-century led England to a nine-wicket win in 1997, the tourists enjoyed another innings win in 2001. "It's a great story".

James Anderson is now just 25 wickets away from becoming the first fast bowler in the world to take 600 in Tests. "They're human beings, they've got feelings, they're no different to anyone else", Paine said.

They will have to make every game count.

"Someone like Starc can go through bursts with great pace and can get wickets quickly but can be very expensive when it's not working, so maybe there's a new thought process to go for Siddle or Hazlewood due to their accuracy. It won't be different opposition but certainly different conditions".

"Usman Khawaja will definitely be in", Langer told reporters.

"He's a seasoned pro for us, he averages 40-odd in test cricket, his hammy's good, he's running well, he's passed all the fitness tests so he's ready to go. He'll bat No. 3". Stuart Broad took seven wickets in that match as the English bowlers rallied to avoid a major post-World Cup letdown. But we still saw some life in it in that we came unstuck in the semi-final. I've been put in this team to captain and keep wicket to the best of my ability.

And that's how the table is set for this year's duel, the 71st Ashes cricket series, except that it's actually worse for England than I'm making it out to be. We've also internally spoken about our behaviour and the way we're going to be seen.

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